A Year Of …

Posted on January 3, 2018

by Sarah H

One year. That’s fifty-two weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, or 31,536,000 seconds.

What could you accomplish in that amount of time? The authors of the books featured below set themselves formidable goals and a single year in which to achieve them. For example, Julie Powell attempted to make all 524 recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Gretchen Rubin did a year-long happiness project – and then she did another to find more happiness at home. Maya Van Wegenen applied advice from a book on popularity written for teenagers in the 1960s to see if the suggestions would still work today. Kjersten Gruys vowed to avoid looking at her own reflection in a mirror for a year and Sara Bongiorni challenged herself to go that long without buying anything made in China. Their stories are among the year-long project memoirs we’ve gathered together for your reading pleasure.

Year-Long Memoirs

Julie and Julia : 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen : how one girl risked her marriage, her job and her sanity to master the art of living / Julie Powell

Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

Recounts how the author escaped the doldrums of an unpromising career and lackluster Queens apartment by mastering every recipe in Julia Child’s 1961 classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a year-long endeavor of humor and accomplishment that transformed her life.

Also available in eBook and eAudio.

Now a major motion picture – available on DVD and Blu-ray.

The happiness project : or why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun / by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin

Chronicles the author’s year spent testing the edicts of conventional wisdom to assess their actual potential for improving life, describing how she engaged in various activities from getting more sleep and singing to her children to starting a blog and imitating a spiritual master.

Also available in eBook and eAudio.

If you like The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, you may also like her book Happier at Home – available in Print, Audio, eBook, and eAudio.

My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir by Noelle Hancock

My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir by Noelle Hancock

In the year leading up to her thirtieth birthday, the author, a former media blogger, turns to Eleanor Roosevelt for guidance as she spends the last months of her twenties pursuing a “year of fear” during which she embarks on many adventures.

Also available in eBook.

Sweater quest : my year of knitting dangerously / Adrienne Martini

Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously by Adrienne Martini

A working mom describes her efforts to knit a famous rare and difficult pattern known as the “Mary Tudor,” a project challenged by hectic family schedules, career demands, and the unavailability of key materials.

Also available in Large Print.

Popular : vintage wisdom for a modern geek / Maya Van Wagenen

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen

Documents a high schooler’s year-long attempt to change her social status from misfit to member of the “in” crowd by following advice in a 1950s popularity guide, an experiment that triggered embarrassment, humor, and surprises.

Also available in eBook.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

A Year of Yes: How to Dance it OUt, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

The creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal details the one-year experiment with saying “yes” that transformed her life, revealing how accepting unexpected invitations she would have otherwise declined enabled powerful benefits.

Also available in Audio, eBook, and eAudio.

I'd like to apologize to every teacher I ever had : my year as a rookie teacher at Northeast High / Tony Danza

I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High by Tony Danza

The popular television star recounts the year he spent teaching at Philadelphia’s largest high school, the challenges he encountered in keeping students engaged, and his memories of posing disciplinary challenges to his own instructors as a teenager.

Also available in Audio and eBook.

Year of no clutter : a memoir / Eve O. Schaub

Year of No Clutter: A Memoir by Eve O. Schaub

A Cornell graduate explores the hoarding phenomenon as reflected by such cultural examples as Hoarders and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up while sharing the personal story of how she organized a single room in her house that had been overtaken by psychological clutter.

Also available in Audio, eBook, and eAudio.

If you like Year of No Clutter by Eve O Schaub, you may also like her book Year of No Sugar – available in Print and eBook.

Eat, pray, love : one woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia / Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

Traces the author’s decision to quit her job and travel the world for a year after suffering a midlife crisis and divorce, an endeavor that took her to three places in her quest to explore her own nature, experience fulfillment, and learn the art of spiritual balance.

Also available in Large Print, eBook, and eAudio.

More Year-Long Memoir Projects …

Living Oprah : my one-year experiment to walk the walk of the queen of talk / Robyn Okrant
Mirror, mirror off the wall : how I learned to love my body by not looking at it for a year / Kjerstin Gruys
A year without "made in China" : one family's true life adventure in the global economy / Sara Bongiorni
A Year of Writing Dangerously 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement by Barbara Abercrombie
365 thank yous : the year a simple act of daily gratitude changed my life / John Kralik
Operating Instructions - A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott
All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane by Amy Smith (eBook)
The Know-it-all : one man's humble quest to become the smartest person in the world / A.J. Jacobs

Want to learn more about writing your story?

Check out this blog post – Memoir Writing Resources.

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